To move on or to dwell in the past?
Are we going to enjoy the sport for the beauty or the swag?
Colorado laid out the red carpet for the riders, staff and everyone associated with the race.
In the end Christian Vande Velde was the overall winner taking the yellow jersey back in the time trial in downtown Denver. I spent all of that stage in a media car listening to the race radio and writing my stage report. As we drove around the 9.5 mile course there was hardly a space not occupied by spectators. It was quite a sight to see for a time trial. Of course don’t get me started regarding the crowds on both Independent Pass and Flagstaff! While I didn’t see them in person, on the monitors they looked to be out of control (at times in a bad way) and the journalists that did go to the summit of Flagstaff were constantly comparing it to the crowds at the Tour de France.
I spoke to two French journalists who were in Colorado covering the race and naturally the Tour de France came up in our discussion. They said people going to watch the Tour in person are not there to see the racers go by. They claimed that most people are there on the side of the road waiting for the publicity caravan to drive by so they can grab the trinkets they toss out.
The French journalists also said people watching the Tour broadcast enjoy the history and tourism aspect of the show – again, not so much the race. Of course I was surprised by these statements. To us, French people love the Tour and the racers. But it turns out that even the French are getting weary of the doping scandals. I guess the French can forgive (example – Richard Virenque is a consultant commentator for Eurosport), but it doesn’t mean they forget.
Speaking of forgiving, Alberto Contador has returned to professional cycling after serving his suspension. I have to say, Contador has invigorated this edition of the Vuelta. He has continually attacked whenever the road goes up. Like Armstrong, Contador’s suspension was polarizing. Admittedly not to the extent of Armstrong, but it did stir up some feedback on the Internet. Was he really guilty of doping or was he just a victim of a system that doesn’t give the athlete a fair chance? I emailed Dan Kalbacher for his thoughts.
Dan is a contributor on the excellent Cyclismas site and his real life job as Sheriff’s Deputy in Fairfax County, Virginia has given him some insight into how the justice system works. Plus, he’s a Contador supporter, so he seemed like the perfect person to pick their brain about his subject.
“I look at doping cases differently in the fact that my profession requires an actual ‘intent’ of wrong doing to make an individual guilty and for me that is what lacks with the Alberto Contador case,” explains Dan.
“Yes, I recognize the rules and the CAS decision is well in line with the code and was correct interpretation. However, I think the Contador, and even the Zirbel case both show how the